Director of the Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP), Steve Burdis, has been suspended pending an investigation into the way the body has been managed.
The partnership is a collaboration between seven Dorset councils which oversees waste services in the area.
Dorset County Council launched a formal, independently led investigation when concerns were raised about the DWP’s £2.8m overspend, including more than £1m for hire vehicles associated with the roll-out of improved recycling services.
Burdis has been suspended temporarily while the council carries out its procedures. The council said it made the move without prejudging the outcome.
The DWP Joint Committee, which assumes a supervisory role over the partnership, is to consider the findings of the investigation before recommending an improvement plan.
There are three separate reviews – conducted by South West Audit Partnership, Local Partnerships and consultancy WYG – that assess:
- budget management
- the use of hire vehicles
In addition to the overspend, it is alleged the DWP hired vehicles without a proper tendering process to the value of £1.5m, and there were issues in relation to insurance.
A council spokesman said: “There is a list of recommendations that are quite detailed. It is mainly a set of actions to improve the overall financial management, governance and accountability of the waste partnership. It is largely around making sure there is sufficient financial management budget monitoring and a more collaborative relationship between the councillors and the officers.”
Mike Harries, chair of the DWP Management Board, and Steve Mackenzie, chief executive of Purbeck District Council, are temporarily running the partnership while the reviews take place.
The DWP was formed in 2011 to unify Dorset waste services and has achieved a number of targets including:
- boosting recycling rates above 60%
- halving landfill waste from 40% to 20% since 2011
- creating £1.3m annual savings in its first three years
The article was updated at 16.50 on 3 March to reflect clarification from the authority that vehicles were insured.